Building a Supersized Game Boy Advance

Unless you really look closely at the image above, you might not realize you aren’t looking at a normal Game Boy Advance; which is sort of the point. Even though it retains the looks of the iconic Nintendo handheld, this version built by [Akira] is supersized for adult hands. How big is it? To give you an idea, that screen is 5 inches, compared to the 2.9 inch screen the original sported.

Unlike most of the portable gaming hacks we’ve covered recently, this big-boy GBA isn’t powered by a Raspberry Pi. Internally it’s packing a genuine GBA motherboard, which has been wired into a portable screen originally intended for the PlayStation.

Though that may be understating things a bit, as getting the round PCB of the original screen into the rectangular shape of the GBA meant it had to be cut down and the traces recreated with jumper wires. The original CCFL backlight of the screen had to go in the name of battery life, and in its place is the backlight system pulled from a Nintendo DSi XL.

But where did [Akira] get a giant GBA case to begin with? No, it isn’t 3D printed. It’s actually a hard carrying case that was sold for the GBA. The carrying case obviously didn’t have a cartridge slot or openings for buttons, so those sections were grafted from a donor GBA case. So despite the system overall being so much bigger than the original, the D-Pad, face buttons, and cartridge slot on the back are at normal GBA scale.

The GBA XL is really a labor of love; browsing through the build log you can see that [Akira] actually started the project back in 2014, but it kept getting shelved until more research could be done on how to pack all the desired features into the final device.

While this may be the most historically accurate attempt at making a bigger Game Boy, it certainly isn’t the first. There seems to be a fascination with turning the quintessential pocket game system into something that’s quite the opposite.

5 thoughts on “Building a Supersized Game Boy Advance

  1. Good work but I don’t think I would like it.
    That’s because it’s to fat I got one of them cases and it’s just to big to hold in your hands Because it’s to deep. Might be just me? but would need it to be slimmer in it’s depth. Would be better using the wii 2 casing handheld with its 6inch screen and putting the GBA in that. You can get them easy the casework or a faulty one. I would go that route if you want a big size game boy. Sorry not putting your work down you done a great job there. Just feel this will not be for everyone adult hands.

  2. This is for the real GBA fan boys/girls. It’s a serious technical achievement, but all that work just to play Game Boy carts…wow.

    Builds with the Pi might be “cheating” because it’s an emulator, but at least you’ve got more software to chose from.

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